MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (CBS/AP) Investigators have acknowledged that three people still missing in central Ohio may be dead, but the father of one of the apparent victims says he is still hopeful.
Steve Thompson, the father of missing woman Stephanie Sprang, told CBS News' "The Early Show" Tuesday morning that he couldn't accept the conclusion reached by police.
"Well, at this point, we're not listening to them. I'm sorry," an emotional Thompson told the morning show. "As far as we know, they are alive and we will find them eventually."
Police found 13-year-old Sarah Maynard on Sunday, bound and gagged in a Mount Vernon, Ohio home. Maynard's mother, 32-year-old Tina Herrmann, the woman's 10-year-old son, Kody Maynard, and Sprang are still missing.
Matthew J. Hoffman has been charged with one count of kidnapping.
CBS affiliate WBNS reports that neighbors gathered Monday evening for a vigil, just up the road from Hoffman's home, also hoping that the horror story unfolding in their town might still have a happy ending.
"Maybe they've been tied up someplace and couldn't get free, and now they are," Thompson told the morning show. "That would make it all right. That would make me happy."
"You have to be realistic that there's a possibility that these folks are dead," Knox County Sheriff David Barber said Monday.
Hoffman is to appear via video from jail for a bond hearing Tuesday. It wasn't clear how well Hoffman knew the four missing people, but authorities have suggested that the defendant had been watching them.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Knox County Sheriff's Office at 740-397-3333.